Chocolate-Cherry Granola Bars {Recipe Redux}

Bars are popular in our house. The kids would eat them every day, if they could. But, there are a lot of inherent problems with bars… they tend to contain a lot of added sugars, few whole grains or–worst of all (for us)–nuts (to which my daughter has an allergy). I have been meaning to make granola bars from scratch, but just haven’t yet.

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So when I saw this month’s Recipe ReDux theme Bars & Bites for Brown Bags, I immediately thought… GRANOLA BARS!

Whether you pack your lunch in a bento box, a brown bag or a retro cartoon character lunch box, don’t forget the bars and bites. Small squares or round bites can pack nutrition into a sweet or savory taste. Show us your favorite way to jazz up any type of lunch box.

Chocolate cherry granola bars_bowl_rec reduxe_08 14I leaned heavily on old-fashioned oats and lots of flavorful items, like mini chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips), dried cherries, sunflower butter, coconut* and pumpkin seeds (I used allergen-free SuperSeedz salted pumpkin seeds). The kids couldn’t get enough of these bars (which were perfect for today’s lunchbox!), and I noticed the hubby taking a baggie of these bars to work today, too.

Feel free to play around with different seeds, dried fruit and nut or seed butters. Perfect for breakfast-on-the-go, brown bag lunches or after-school snacks, these bars are also delicious crumbled into a bowl of skim milk.

Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars {nut-free}

4 cups old-fashioned oats
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut*
½ cup spelt or whole wheat flour
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup mini chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. chopped dried cherries (or other favorite dried fruit)
½ cup salted pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp. sunflower butter
½ cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup honey

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Mix oats and coconut on baking sheet. Toast for 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add oats and coconut mixture. Put parchment paper on baking sheet. Spread mixture evenly on top of parchment paper. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Cut into bars or squares with serrated knife.

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*My daughter does not have an allergy or reactions to coconut, so I use sparingly in baking. However, the FDA recently added coconut to its list that those with food allergies with tree nuts should avoid, although some allergy experts say that those with tree nut allergies do not have a greater likelihood for developing a coconut allergy. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), “Coconut is not a botanical nut; it is classified as a fruit, even though the Food and Drug Administration recognizes coconut as a tree nut. While allergic reactions to coconut have been documented, most people who are allergic to tree nuts can safely eat coconut. If you are allergic to tree nuts, talk to you allergist before adding coconut to your diet.”

PLEASE SHARE: What is your favorite homemade lunchbox treat (for kids or adults)? I’d love to hear from you!

Also, be sure to check out recipes from my fellow Reduxers below.

1 Comment
  1. Chocolate and cherry is a great combo. I love all the goodies you put in these bars, Rima!

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